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Russia vs Saudi Arabia Highlights, FIFA World Cup 2018, Match 1 in Moscow: Hosts off to dream start with 5-0 win

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Russia vs Saudi Arabia Highlights, FIFA World Cup 2018, Match 1 in Moscow: Hosts off to dream start with 5-0 win
  • 22:49 (IST)

    Thank you for being with us tonight!

    We'll be back tomorrow as Uruguay take on Egypt in a Group A clash at 3.30 pm IST followed by Iran's Group B clash with Morocco at 8.30 pm IST. The night will be capped off with a mouthwatering clash between rivals Spain and Portugal at 11.30 pm. Keep following Firstpost as we bring you all the latest news from the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Dasvidanya!

  • 22:43 (IST)

    FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

    Here's a quick recap of the match:

    Denis Cheryshev scored twice as Russia swept aside Saudi Arabia to open their home World Cup with a 5-0 win. After a lavish opening ceremony and with President Vladimir Putin watching on, Yuri Gazinsky put Russia ahead with a header off Alexander Golovin's cross in the 12th minute. Substitute Cheryshev, who came on for the injured Alan Dzagoev, chipped the ball over two Saudi defenders in the 43rd minute and then fired it high to goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf's right.

    Artyom Dzyuba made an instant impact off the bench to make it 3-0 in the 71st with a header off Golovin's cross. In stoppage time, Cheryshev slammed the ball in for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time and Golovin made it 5-0 from a free kick. It was Russia's first World Cup win since 2002 and ended a seven-game winless run in all matches.

  • 22:39 (IST)

    FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

    Well deserved award but Alexandr Golovin with his goal and two assists could have also been a worthy winner.

  • 22:35 (IST)

    FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

    They definitely didn't imagine that scoreline!

  • 22:29 (IST)

    FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

  • 22:28 (IST)

    FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

    Fantastic start to the tournament!

  • FT! Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

    This is the dream start Russia feared to imagine. But a 5-0 win on the opening day is a massive boost for a team which has not experienced similar joy on the football pitch for a long time. Saudi Arabia are shell-shocked. So are Russia, with happiness.

  • GOAL !

    90+3` Golovin scores Russia's fifth

    And it just got louder. As if Golovin had not been extraordinary enough, he now places a free kick into the right corner from just outside the box.

  • 90+1` Russia 4-0 Saudi Arabia

    Denis Cheryshev has scored another really good goal. This is probably better than his first football. An outside of the boot finish off Dzyuba's knockdown to raise the noise inside the Luzhniki a few notches.

  • 22:25 (IST)

    YELLOW CARD !

    92` Russia 4-0 Saudi Arabia

    Taisir Al-Jassim becomes the first player to go into the referee's book as Russia get a free kick right on the edge of the box.

  • 22:23 (IST)

    GOAL !

    91` Cheryshev scores a stunner!

    What a goal from Denis Cheryshev! Smacks the ball from the outside of his left boot and there was nothing that Abdullah Almuaiouf​ could do to keep it out!

  • 22:21 (IST)

    90` Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia

    Three minutes added on at the end of the 90.

  • 22:19 (IST)

    87` Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia

    About time!

  • 22:17 (IST)

    86` Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia

    Debatable to be honest

  • 81` Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia

    Unless there's a miracle in store, it seems safe to say that Saudi Arabia has put in an atrocious performance. Although not a lot was expected from the Asian side to begin with, this is a result which will almost certainly sound the death knell of its World Cup campaign. With Uruguay and Egypt to come next, it will be a surprise if Saudi Arabia manages to defeat either of them.

  • 78` Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia

    Artem Dzyuba reportedly has a testy relationship with coach Cherchesov, which contributed to Fyodor Smolov's place in the first eleven for this World Cup. Dzyuba's reputation for being difficult had surfaced earlier this season when Roberto Mancini exiled him at Zenit St Petersburg, forcing the striker to seek playing time on loan at Arsenal Tula.

  • 74` Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia

    Much was expected of Aleksandr Golovin and he has delivered two assists on Russia's big day. Golovin started the match on the left but had switched to the other wing once Kuziaev was brought on. The CSKA midfielder has been heavily involved in Russia's attack today.

  • 72` Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia

    The introduction of Artem Dzyuba means Russia has a tall, physical threat up front. And he scores minutes after coming on!

  • 22:03 (IST)

    GOAL !

    71` Artem Dzyuba triples Russia's advantage!

    The sub makes an immediate impact as he heads in Russia's third goal from Golovin's cross. Brilliant stuff!

  • 22:01 (IST)

    70` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Russia make their third and final change as Artem Dzyuba replaces Fedor Smolov.

  • 21:58 (IST)

    64` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    The hosts make their second change as Daler Kuzyayev comes on for Aleksandr Samedov.

  • 63` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Attacking substitution by Saudi Arabia. Fahad Al-Muwallad replaces Abdullah Otayf. The Saudis have switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Muwallad leading the line. Al-Sahlawi is slightly behind him.

  • 61` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Russia's left side of the defence was supposed to be its Achilles' heel with Ignashevich and Zhirkov a combined age of 72 years. But Yahia Al-Shehri has had a remarkably quiet game. The old, creaky Russian defence has been able to breathe easy for the most part.

  • 21:52 (IST)

    60` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Despite having superior possession, the Saudis are barely creating any chances. The Russians content with letting the Saudis keeping the ball. Meanwhile, the Saudis get ready to make a change as Fahad Al-Muwallad strips off his training kit.

  • 55` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    The first ten minutes of this half have not given any suggestion that Saudi Arabia is on its way to cut the deficit. A cross by Mohammad Alburayk goes begging across the face of the goal. Russia, by and large, sitting pretty.

  • 21:43 (IST)

    52` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Alexander Samedov let flies of a rasping shot from the edge of the box. Soars over the bar.​

  • 21:41 (IST)

    50` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    It has been a slow start in the second half. Russia are happy to sit back and allow the Saudis to attack and trying to hit their opponents on the counter. 

  • 21:36 (IST)

    46` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    And we're back underway at the Luzhniki Stadium as Saudi Arabia look to fight back in the second half.

  • 21:26 (IST)

    HT. Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Super sub!

  • 21:25 (IST)

    HT. Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Take a look at the stats at HT.

  • 21:25 (IST)

    HT. Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Illustrious company, I'd say. 

  • HT! Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Half-time and Russia are two goals ahead. All the pre-tournament nerves have been relaxed as the host has been miles ahead of the Saudis till now.

  • 45` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    Fun fact: Cheryshev has been living in Spain since he was five and was trained by Real Madrid in his junior days. He indirectly contributed to Rafa Benitez's sacking when he was fielded in a 2015 Copa del Rey match despite being ineligible to play.

  • 44` Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia

    The Russian radio commentator sitting next to me is getting agitated as the home side wastes another opportunity. But he's on his feet now as Cheryshev's deft control allows him to slot the ball into the top corner!

  • 21:16 (IST)

    GOAL !

    43` Denis Cheryshev doubles Russia's lead!

    The Villareal man, on as a sub for Alan Dzagoev, smashes the ball into goal as Russia take a 2-0 lead!

  • 38` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    There's a discernible lack of pace to this encounter. Saudi Arabia's build-up play is languid at best while Russia have slowed down after coming fast out of the blocks.

  • 21:10 (IST)

    36` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    The Russians appeal for a penalty as Golovin goes down from a challenge from Osama. The referee is not interested as Saudi clear. Good call by the ref. It was a fair challenge from Osama. 

  • 35` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    Ever since his appointment in November, Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has wanted his side to play out more information from the back. But after initial passing errors, the Saudi goalie Al-Muaiouf has resorted to direct passes.

  • 21:07 (IST)

    33` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    Smolov gets to the byline as Russia counter but the No 10's attempt at an elastico is comical to say the least. Osama nips it off his feet and Smolov proceeds to foul the Saudi defender. 

  • 21:04 (IST)

    28` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    The Saudis get a free kick in a dangerous position on the left outside the box. Mohammed Alsahlawi swings it in but Yasser Alshahrani heads it over.

  • 27` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    Interestingly, Cheryshev is among the only two players to ply his trade outside Russia. The other member of this squad stationed abroad is third-choice goalie Vladimir Gabulov of Club Brugge.

  • 25` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    A tactical change as Cheryshev takes the left flank and Golovin moves into a central position behind the striker.

  • 22` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    Worry for Russia as Alan Dzagoev falls down in a heap. He clutched his hamstring before he collapsed. It is a major loss for Russia since he's their creative hub, alongside Golovin. Villarreal's Denis Cheryshev replaces Dzagoev.

  • 19` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    Saudi had barely been able to get out of their half in the first 20 minutes before left-back Al-Shahrani found some space on the flank but his cross was headed behind for a corner.

  • 20:51 (IST)

    15` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    Visual proof of the aforementioned handshake. 

  • 20:49 (IST)

    14` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    We have a goal! Russia take advantage of their impressive start. Zhirkov's corner was only half-cleared and he laid it to off to Golovin. A pinpoint cross found Iury Gazinskii's head who has scored the first goal of this World Cup. Gazinskii was a surprise pick in the Russian squad but he has already proved Cherchesov right.

  • 20:48 (IST)

    13` Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

    As the ball went in goal, Vladimir Putin shook hands with a not-so-happy-looking Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

  • 20:46 (IST)

    GOAL !

    12` Iury Gazinskii gives Russia the lead!

    Russia win a corner after a good move ends with Dzagoev's shot being deflected behind for a corner. The corner is recycled and Golovin's cross is headed into goal!

  • 20:41 (IST)

    7` Russia 0-0 Saudi Arabia

    Russia go on the counter with Dzagoev driving ahead on the left. The Russian No 9 switches play to the right and after some neat play, the Russians have a shot at goal only for it to be blocked by the Saudi skipper Osama.

  • 5` Russia 0-0 Saudi Arabia

    Russia have a 39-year-old Ignashevich in central defence. Samedov on the right sometimes plays as a wing-back. So he will be expected to keep the Saudis in check too.

Nobody would have hand picked the tournament's two worst teams to launch the 2018 World Cup, but when Russia and Saudi Arabia meet on Thursday form will be irrelevant as the world’s biggest sporting festival explodes into life in Moscow.

Hosts Russia, and Saudi Arabia are the two lowest-ranked teams at the tournament by some distance and they are both in dire form. But their clash will set the tone for the global showpiece.

Russia captain Igor Akinfeev and Saudi Arabia captain Osama Hawsawi. AFP

Russia captain Igor Akinfeev and Saudi Arabia captain Osama Hawsawi. AFP

Partly due to a lack of competitive matches, Russia have slipped to 70th in the FIFA rankings, which sounds shockingly low for a World Cup team until you glance up to see the Saudis, despite securing automatic qualification from a competitive Asian confederation, at 67.

Despite failing to win in seven matches stretching back to October 2017, the hosts still have realistic hopes of making it to the second round for the first time in more than 30 years after being drawn in a group also containing Egypt and Uruguay.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has been working overtime trying to rebuild his team, particularly defensively, after a cruel run of serious injuries to some of his most experienced operators, but the tournament has arrived without him showing much evidence of progress.

His team last tasted success via a 4-2 victory over South Korea - and even that win needed two own goals - and their most recent warm-ups brought defeat by Austria and a 1-1 draw with Turkey.

In those games, Russia’s laboured build-up play and careless passing looked light-years away from the irresistible, quicksilver side that lit up the European championship a decade ago.

That 2008 tournament, in which they reached the semi-finals, is something of an island of success for a nation who failed to qualify for the World Cups either side of it and made no impression in 2014 when they finished behind Belgium and Algeria.

That historical and recent lack of form means that few in Russia are holding out much hope of glory on home soil but the players will almost certainly be lifted by the occasion and by finally getting their teeth into a competitive match.

They also have a puncher’s chance in the shape of striker Fyodor Smolov, who has become a scoring machine since being left out of the squad in 2014.

With more than 60 goals over the last three seasons for his club Krasnodar, if his teammates can get enough possession to supply him then Smolov knows how to finish.

If they are going to do it against anyone then it should be against a Saudi team coming off the back of successive friendly losses to Italy, Peru and Germany, though they showed patches of encouraging form and did beat Algeria and Greece in May.

The domestically based Saudi squad is desperately short of international exposure and the experiment of sending nine players on loan to Spanish clubs for the second half of the season proved something of a disaster. Most failed to play at all with a handful being given a few token minutes in the final games of the campaign.

Their World Cup pedigree is dire, too. This is their first appearance since 2006 and in their last three tournaments they lost seven and drew two of their group games.

Russia could not have hoped for a more gentle start, but Cherchesov knows the players and the public need to discover some confidence.

“I am not a therapist able to reassure anyone,” he said after the Turkey draw.

“We are making progress and our main task is to believe in ourselves. We also need the fans to believe in us.”

With inputs from Reuters

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Updated Date: Jun 15, 2018 17:28 PM

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